By William Carrington Sherman; Wray R Johnson; Air University (U.S.). Press
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They form the basis of discipline, which is itself only a means to the all-important end: that the soldier, under the tremendous psychical stress of battle, may be induced by the command and example of his officer, to master the urgent call of self-preservation and to perform the very simple but enormously difficult action which constitutes his duty. When we come to consider the air fighters, these conditions are met with in part only. In the American service, the officer, not the enlisted man, is the wielder of arms in the air.
They hoped that, as a result of this, guns and airplanes by the scores would be diverted from the decisive theatre of war on the Western front and tied down to the fruitless guard of the capitals. The strategy was not unlike that of Lee in the American Civil War in his many threats against Washington. It met with a full measure of success. A very small force of German airplanes immobilized many times their number of allied aircraft, and reduced by that amount the allied air power in the decisive areas of action.
The airman is physically isolated, and must be ever conscious of his individual responsibility for the maneuvering of his craft. These factors tend to preserve the individual psyche. However strong may be the personally born emotions which are aroused in him, he is incapable of transmitting his panic to another. The infection does not spread. While the comparative freedom of the airman from the influence of the mass tends to preserve him from the demoralizing effect of panic, it has also its disadvantages.
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